For the first time, a collaborative study [http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/014039] has compared water quality trends in forested streams across the country that are largely undisturbed by land use or land cover changes. The study draws on 559 years of stream nitrate and 523 years of stream ammonium data from 22 streams in 7 experimental forests across the country. The study found that even near-pristine forested streams are subject to change.
The Kings River Experimental Watersheds hosts the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory--a National Science Foundation effort to gain a better understanding of the zone of earth where "rock meets life." The critical zone extends from the tops of the trees to the groundwater and covers the entire earth where there is land. Dowload the video created by a UA Flandrau Science Center team to introduce the motivation and science involved in the National Critical Zone Observatory research program.
Kings River Experimental Watersheds (KREW)
It is crucial that KREW have access to data that represent the seasonal variation in air temperature, solar radiation, and precipitation at or very near the watershed locations. Variation in climate can be linked to nearly every question that an ecosystem-level study such as KREW may pose. Therefore, four permanent meteorology stations were installed on the KREW study sites: one station at the top and one at the bottom of each site of watersheds (Providence Site and Bull Site). The different locations represent the range of elevations that encompass each watershed and can be used to interpolate data taken over the topographic gradient.
The following variables are measured at each of the meteorology stations: wind direction,wind speed, relative humidity, temperature, solar radiation, precipitation, snow depth, and snow water equivalence. Measurements are recorded by a data logger every 15 minutes, with 24-hour averages. Data are downloaded regularly from the office in Fresno, using telemetry, and checked monthly in the field with analog measurements. For specifics concerning the location and instrumentation of meteorology stations, see the online map section and the KREW Study Plan (Hunsaker et al. 2004).